Custer’s fatal attack on the Plains peoples, made famous as the Battle of the Little Big Horn, known to the Lakota as the Battle of the Slippery Grass, also known as Custer’s Last Stand. It was a decisive and total rout of the regiment of that proud and haughty United States Army which he impulsively led into battle on the day. It’s a battle that has gone down in the annals of history as a day that native people fought back and won. Of course, the dreadful and revenge filled retribution imposed by United States government forces that followed, is an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth for white America to face today; one usually avoided or simply ignored.
George Custer, portrayed as swaggering hero; the truth of the man is likely to have been something far less admirable.
The background for Custer’s attack was an aggressive policy by the United States government to drive the Plains People into enforced confinement on predetermined reservations, thus leaving the Black Hills of the Dakota region, free for white exploitation, especially for gold. The Indians, naturally resented being forced from their traditional and sacred lands and were resisting. A totally impractical deadline of January 31st 1876 had been declared by President Ulysses Grant as the date all Indians were to be on the specified reservations, beyond which, all tribes people, found off the reservations, were fair game and could and would be killed as hostiles. The deadline however, was completely unreasonable due to the heavy mid-winter snows and freezing temperatures at that time of year. The Indians had ignored the decree anyway, and gathered by mid-June for their traditional buffalo hunting and Sun Dances. When Custer was told by his scouts that there was a large Indian encampment nearby, he decided at first to attack the next day and then, impulsively changed his mind and ordered the attack for that same day. He split his forces into three, which it seems was a big mistake, given the sheer numbers of Indians he ended up facing. There has been some conjecture as to whether at the time of his order to attack, he was actually aware of the overwhelming numbers of Indians present in the camps. Whether he was or not, it seems likely that he simply acted out of impulse that day. He had a well-deserved reputation for loving the limelight and was thought of by many as little more than a glory hunter. Certainly, the Four Pillars reveal his rebellious, impulsive nature in action that fateful day.
George Armstrong Custer’s Four Pillars:
5th December 1839
Yang Water Yin Wood Yin Earth
Dragon Pig Pig
Luck Pillar at time of Death: Yang Water Monkey
Red Horse’s representation of the Battle of the Greasy Grass. This shows details of the battle from a native perspective rather than the tragi-romance of the usual white perspective.
Like Captain James Cook and John Chau, Custer too was a Strong Water man, born as he was on a Yang Water Day, in the Month of the Pig – Water Season.
In fact, his double Pigs only increase the Water Penalty for him. His Day Pillar of Yang Water sitting on the Dragon, which also hides water, makes his self-water-element very strong indeed. In fact, here we have a rather intriguing factor. This hidden water of the Dragon in Custer’s Day pillar hints at an aspect of his life that he himself no doubt preferred to keep concealed. This hidden water within the Dragon of his Day Pillar, hints at there being competition for his wife from other women. The Day Pillar is separated into two aspects of one’s life. The Heavenly Stem, is referred to as the House of self. This shows us the person’s self-element and thus, his relationship to all the other elements in his chart and, as one’s life progresses, to other people and to events as they occur. The Earthly Branch (the animal sign of the day), gives us insight into their life partners, their spouses or otherwise. This is why we call this the House of Spouse. By tradition, a man, in order to have a proper relationship with his wife, should have her conquering element. (Remember, this is the traditional viewpoint we are referring to here and can be difficult to reconcile with our own modern-day perspectives.) Therefore, a water man like Custer, as with Cook, would be expected to have fire in the House of Spouse, in order to have a conventional and successful marriage. (Water conquers fire.)
Here however, we see a divergence from that expected norm. Custer’s House of Spouse being Dragon, is earth. This would indicate that his wife, is likely to have some controlling aspect over him. George Custer married Elizabeth Bacon in February of 1864, and had, apparently, 12 happy if tumultuous years together before he was killed in battle.
Elizabeth (Bacon) Custer’s Four Pillar:
8th April 1842
Yin Fire Yang Wood Yang Water
Goat Dragon Tiger
As we can see from her House of Self, Elizabeth Custer was a Weak Fire Lady, and so a good match for Custer’s strong water. However, the earth element of the Goat in her House of Spouse, hints that she is likely to have competition within the marriage. Indeed, George Custer is known to have taken a young Cheyanne woman, Mo-nah-se-tah 18 yrs old, as his unofficial native wife, from the winter of 1868, just four years after his official marriage to Elizabeth. Mo-nah-se-tah, was the daughter of a Cheyanne chief killed in a battle led by Custer and taken prisoner. Clearly under such circumstances, the girl had little choice in the matter. She bore Custer at least one son, with another, potentially being his brother’s rather than his. Hardly ethical and a fact he certainly would not have wanted Elizabeth to have known about, but a common enough practice for the time. In one last foot note to this aspect of his unofficial marriage to Mo-nah-se-tah, two Cheyanne women are said after the Battle of the Little Big Horn, to have stopped a Lakota warrior from violating his body, telling him that he was a relative of theirs. In Cheyanne traditions, a marriage such as between Custer and Mo-nah-se-tah, was recognised as a proper marriage. They said later they had pierced his ears with needles, so he would better listen in the after-life, as he had broken his promise after the battle in which Mo-nah-se-tah’s father had been killed, to never again fight the Indians.
As noted with both Cook and Chau earlier, strong water people, do not need more water. On the contrary, they need Wood, and Fire to help lessen their excessive self-water-element. Furthermore, we see that from 1868, Custer was in the Luck Pillar of Yang Water sitting on the Monkey, the strong metal of which, only serves to further resource his already too strong water.
One other factor in Custer’s Four Pillars that reveals something of his personality to us, is the interplay between his Yang Water Heavenly Stem of his Day of Birth and the Yin Wood of his Month. Since Water is his self-element and it is Yang in the Day Pillar, wood is his outlet or intelligence element. With this particular interplay, of self-element and intelligence elements, they should be the same. That is, they should both be either yin or yang. When the self-element is yang, and the intelligence element is yin, it shows a rebelliousness in the person’s character, indicating they are impulsive and hard to control.
Elizabeth (Libby) Custer
The Battle of the Little Big Horn:
25th June 1876
Yang Wood Yang Wood Yang Fire
Rat Horse Rat
Since the year 1876 was a Rat year, and June is the Month of the Horse, the month was a Clash month against the year of the Rat. This means that June that year, was not a good month during which to undertake risky or dangerous actions. Furthermore, Custer’s Day element is Yang Water and the Rat is Yang Edge to Yang Water. Yang Edge often increases one’s propensity to impulsive and rash (excessively yang) behaviour, thus inhibiting an otherwise, natural caution he might have exercised. I have not been able to find any definitive hour for the attack by Custer’s men on the Indian encampment, but if one were to assume that it was after 7am, then it would have been in the hour of the Dragon; an hour when no Nobleman come to one’s rescue. In this case the rescue of the aggressors. If it were in the following hour, the hour of the Snake, then it would have been a time of strong Clash against Custer’s double Pigs and perhaps when he might have begun to realise the rashness of his decision to attack? From 11am – 1pm it is the hour of the Horse, which too would have seen him on the receiving end of the double Clash against the two Rats present that day.
A very strong clash indeed. Neither would the following hours of Goat which that day was a Yin Metal Goat, have helped him, given that metal was an element he did not need and would in fact have proved detrimental to him, as would the earth of the Goat itself. In the Hour of the Monkey, which was that day a Yang Water Monkey, he would once more face the problem of too much water and metal in the energies of the day. Likewise, with the hour of the Rooster, from 5pm to 7pm. The hour of the Dog follows and has been discussed in previous accounts above, when either the Dragon or the Dog are present, no Nobleman come to the rescue. It is likely however, that the main action was long over by this time on that awful day anyway.
So once more, just what are we to make of this event? This time instead of a lone, rogue intruder, as with John Chau, Custer went on the attack and clearly bit off more than he could chew. Alas for the Plains Peoples, retribution and revenge quickly followed. The US army eventually hunting them down, killing many and forcing the remainder onto the reservations where their descendants still live in poverty and deprivation to this day.
Go to Part Six: From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots. Part Five: The Four Pillars of George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
The Four Pillars of General Charles Gordon: If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for taking to time to read this article.
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